INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Bolivia: Advancing U.S. Efforts On Water And

Published: Fri 17 Nov 2006 06:53 PM
VZCZCXYZ0024
RR RUEHWEB
DE RUEHLP #3098/01 3211853
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 171853Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1328
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 7485
UNCLAS LA PAZ 003098
SIPDIS
SIPDIS
STATE FOR OES/PCI SALZBERG AND BLAINE
STATE ALSO FOR WHA/AND LPETRONI
USAID FOR MILLER AND DEELY
USAID/LAC/AA FOR AFRANCO AND MSILVERMAN
USAID/LAC/SA FOR JBAKKEN
USAID/DCHA/FFP FOR WHAMMINK AND JDWORKEN
USAID/DCHA/FFP/DP FOR JMAJERNIK, MNIMS, AND BBURNETT
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREL PGOV SENV BL
SUBJECT: BOLIVIA: ADVANCING U.S. EFFORTS ON WATER AND
SANITATION
REF: A. STATE 128229
B. LA PAZ 3071
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SUMMARY
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1. (U) Significant numbers of Bolivians lack access to clean
water and sanitation. GOB authorities at all levels
recognize the problem and have committed to expanding access
to basic services; many have worked closely with U.S. and
other international donors to boost water and sanitation
coverage of both rural and urban populations. In response to
ref A, post has outlined below ongoing efforts and
opportunities for strengthening U.S. engagement.
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BACKGROUND
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2. (U) Significant numbers of Bolivians lack access to clean
water and sanitation. According to the World Health
Organization-UN Children's Fund Joint Monitoring Program, as
much as a quarter of the population lacked access to safe
drinking water in 2002, and more than 50 percent of all
inhabitants lacked access to proper sanitation systems. The
same report indicated that while Bolivia was on track to meet
internationally agreed goals on water by 2015, it was not on
track to meet goals on sanitation.
3. (U) GOB authorities at all levels recognize the problem
and have committed to expanding access to basic services.
The Morales administration has vowed to provide clean water
to 2.3 million Bolivians and to extend sanitation coverage to
5 million inhabitants, more than half in rural areas.
Authorities at the municipal level are particularly committed
to water and sanitation issues, frequently providing
counterpart funding to USAID and other donors and working
closely with the international community to boost water and
sanitation coverage of both rural and urban populations.
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ONGOING EFFORTS
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4. (U) As illustrated in ref B, the PL 480 Title II Food for
Peace program is a key component of ongoing U.S. efforts on
water and sanitation. USAID has annually spent an estimated
$3 to $5 million on small-scale water and sanitation projects
since 2002, providing safe water to an estimated 38,500
Bolivians in rural and peri-urban areas and extending
sanitation coverage to approximately 118,500 inhabitants; all
benefited from the water and sanitation elements of
integrated health and nutrition, income generation, and
natural resource management programs. Thousands more stand
to benefit from watershed and water resource management
strategies implemented through a Global Development Alliance
with Coca-Cola; a partnership with the Pan-American Health
Organization (PAHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
(CDC); and cooperation with Prometa, a local non-governmental
organization.
5. (U) U.S. efforts complement those of other donors. The UN
World Food Program has introduced several programs similar to
those supported by Title II assistance, and German, Dutch,
and Canadian NGOs have helped improve watershed protection
and water and waste water management systems. Donors
committed to the water and sanitation sector have also
offered policy guidance and technical assistance and, like
USAID and other U.S. organizations, have worked to protect
public health through improved hygiene practices. The United
States and other international donors have also provided
humanitarian assistance in response to natural disasters.
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OPPORTUNITIES FOR STRENGTHENING U.S. ENGAGEMENT
--------------------------------------------- --
6. (U) Post believes USAID and other U.S. organizations could
strengthen engagement on water and sanitation issues by
extending and expanding Title II programs beyond their 2007
expiration; pursuing new Global Development Alliances;
implementing PAHO/CDC water safety plans in rural and urban
areas outside Tarija and El Alto; and establishing stronger
partnerships with local NGOs. USAID could also coordinate
more closely with other donors and seek a more influential
voice in policymaking, even while recognizing that the GOB's
unique ideological bent and reluctance to involve the private
sector in water and sanitation issues may limit efforts to
shape GOB strategies.
7. (U) Post believes work in all six focal areas of the U.S.
strategy on water and sanitation would be appropriate in
Bolivia. The United States could continue efforts to
strengthen local, regional, and national authorities to
optimize water use; promote sound water and natural resource
management strategies; invest in small-scale infrastructure
projects to expand access to clean water and sanitation;
improve public health by promoting sound hygiene practices;
advance science and technology cooperation by introducing
water pollution prevention technologies; and provide basic
services in response to natural disasters.
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COMMENT
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8. (U) Post understands that increasing access to clean water
and sanitation and improving water and waste water management
systems are key U.S. foreign policy objectives. Existing
Title II programs and related efforts directly support these
goals and represent an important means of demonstrating U.S.
interest in the health and well being of Bolivia's people.
With continued funding, existing programs could be extended
or even expanded; without it, successful efforts on water and
sanitation will be severely undermined.
GOLDBERG
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